Living in a foreign country is something most people never get to experience. I am very fortunate that part of the Story of Me includes four years living in England. Not some big city either, but a small farm village in Suffolk County, quite a distance from London and everything "city". This was the sort of place where your kids played outside without worries, doors were left unlocked, and serenity was a part of everyday life.
The village of Stanton was my home. Located in Suffolk County, we lived pretty close to the North Sea. Really close to a couple good sized cities. Not too far from Cambridge and not all that far from London even. Home to WWII-era RAF Sheherd's Grove. The village anchor is an ancient church (keep in mind here, when in Europe ancient TRULY means ancient), long with a bakers shop, a butcher, a small grocery, post office, a chip shop and of course, two pubs, The Rose and Crown and The Cock Inn.
|The Rose and Crown, photo courtesy of tripadvisor.com|
Stanton has been around since Roman times, so yes..... ancient. Graves in the churchyard date back hundreds of years. St. John the Baptist Church still stands, where it has since the 14th century.
|St. John the Baptist Church|
Upthorne Mill was built in 1751. The history and traditional of this beautiful little village made life so much more interesting than anything I could ever have imagined. My time in England impacted me in a way like nothing else.
You can imagine how much I adore the one and only authentic British Pub here in Iowa, The Royal Mile. The first time I walked through the door of this amazing place, I felt transported in time. It is so thoroughly genuine, in decor and food, I could close my eyes and be back at The Rose and Crown.
The first thing you notice when you come in is the dark interior. Very subdued and very British the bar boasts dark finished woods, the traditional "ugly carpet" and a huge fireplace, surrounded by comfy chairs and tables.
The bar features a huge list of imported beers and almost always, they have Tennent's on tap. A Scottish brew, Tennent's was always on tap at The Rose, and was by far my favorite. When at The Mile, a Tennent's I must have. The Chef had a tough time choosing but finally settled on a Smithwick's Ale.
Just like an English pub, you can head upstairs with the kiddos for a bite of dinner without the bar scene, or you can tuck yourself away at a high top in the pub and still enjoy a great British meal. The menu is all Brit- from the classic fish and chips to Scotch eggs and unique Indian-influenced curry dishes, shepherds pie, Cornish pasties, bangers and mash and more than a little Guinness making an appearance in dishes.
During our recent visit I just had to have the fish and cops. Two huge battered and fried cod fillets with a nice pile of steak fries, which I sprinkle liberally with malt vinegar before devouring. Makes me soooo homesick! I miss the little chip shop in Stanton, and like an ice cream truck, there actually was a chip truck that drove around town, just like today's food trucks- selling fish and chips. I miss that!
The Chef went with the special- The Mile's version of a Canadian classic, Poutine, a naughty concoction of French fries, cheese curds and gravy- this one piled high with Guinness-braised beef, mushrooms and caramelized onions, smothered in London Porter gravy. Crunchy, savory, salty, melty- everything you want in a bar bite.
It wouldn't be right to visit The Royal Mile without my own little British girl, my daughter, who was born in England. She joined The Chef and I for after dinner cocktails and lived up to her United Kingdom heritage by ordering Jameson. She is very proud of her unique story and pretty amazing early childhood in an English village.
|One more for the road|
Incredibly, even the televisions in the pub are tuned to a soccer match, which really helps drive home that authentic pub atmosphere. I truly miss living in England, and while going back is probably not in the plan for a while, a visit to The Royal Mile is almost as good.
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